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Sunday, 21 January 2018

Hunting Peregrine Falcon, Green Winged Teal and Water Rail.

During the last week I finally managed to see a rare American Green Winged Teal at RSPB Greylake  after a year of trying and failing! They are so similar to our own Common Teal in appearance that they are very difficult to pick out amongst the hundreds of other ducks on the reserve!
 Unfortunately the bird kept it's head under it's wing for the little while I was there but beggars can't be choosers, and it's another addition to my birding 'Life List'. :)
   I also managed to photograph a hunting Peregrine Falcon in mid 'stoop' at Greylake, which I was very happy about as when they're stooping after prey they can reach speeds of over 200 miles per hour!! The Ducks had no chance and within seconds an unfortunate Teal has been caught and killed in mid-air by this beautiful but deadly hunter! The photo proved very popular on my social media sites this week, earning over 1000 'likes' on Twitter and being used by the BBC!
   Another bird seen and photographed was a Water Rail in a cleared patch of willows near one of the hides at Greylake. For me this is the most reliable spot to see these elusive birds in the whole of Somerset. I saw 3 at once, but have seen up to 10 there before!

I also popped into RSPB Swell Wood to see the small woodland birds around the feeders in the car-park. This is a great place to see Nuthatches and Marsh Tits especially. Unfortunately the feeders were all empty when I arrived, but luckily I have access to the seed stocks there, so I soon refilled them and within seconds the birds were coming down! They must've been pretty hungry!

Below are photo's of those mentioned above, plus shots of other sightings during the last week, including Whooper Swan, Goosander, Buzzard and Kestrel;

^Above^ - Hunting Peregrine Falcon at RSPB Greylake.

^Above^ - Another day at Greylake, a Peregrine Falcon mobbing a Buzzard before going back to a favoured spot on nearby electricity pylon.

^Above^ - Sleepy Green Winged Teal at Greylake - note the vertical white stripe instead of a horizontal one....the main way to tell them apart from Common Teals!

^Above^ - Female Marsh Harrier at Greylake.

^Above^ - Shovelers at Greylake.

^Above^ - Common Teal at Greylake.

^Above^ - Wigeon at Greylake.

^Above^ - Gadwall at Greylake.

^Above^ - Moorhens at Greylake.

^Above^ - Water Rail at Greylake.

^Above^ - Snipe at Greylake.

^Above^ - Lapwings at Greylake.

^Above^ - Mallards at Greylake.

^Above^ - Great White Egrets at Greylake.

^Above^ - Pintail at Greylake.

^Above^ - Little Egret at Greylake.

^Above^ - Golden Plover flock at Greylake.

^Above^ -Duck flocks at Greylake, including Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon!

^Above^ - Blue Tit at Greylake.

^Above^ - Singing Robin at Greylake.

^Above^ - Female Reed Bunting at Greylake.

^Above^ - Female Stonechat at Greylake.

^Above^ - Little Egrets at Stathe in Somerset.

^Above^ - Grey Heron near Stathe.

^Above^ - Buzzard before and after catching a Rat at Stathe.

^Above^ - Pheasant near Chard in Somerset.

^Above^ - Woodpigeon near Chard.

^Above^ - Pair of distant Goosander on the Huntspill river in Somerset.

^Above^ - Whooper Swan (with young Mute Swan) near Westhay in Somerset.

^Above^ - Buzzard at RSPB Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Female Kestrel at Chew Valley Lake in North Somerset.

^Above^ - Lesser Black Back Gull at Chew Valley Lake.

^Above^ - Nuthatches at RSPB Swell Wood in Somerset.

^Above^ - Marsh Tits at Swell Wood.

^Above^ - Great Tits at Swell Wood.

^Above^ - Coal Tits at Swell Wood.

^Above^ - Blue Tits at Swell Wood.

^Above^ - Blackbird at Swell Wood.

^Above^ - Robin at Swell Wood.

^Above^ - Squirrel at Swell Wood.